Health Promotion. The purpose of health education and promotion is to encourage people to achieve the highest level of wellbeing possible so that they can live the healthiest lives possible and avoid preventable illnesses. Because of the necessity to control expenditures and prevent unnecessary sickness and death, the call for health promotion has become a cornerstone in health policy.
Health promotion can be defined as activities that help people create resources that will help them maintain or improve their well-being and quality of life. These activities entail a person’s attempts to stay healthy in the absence of symptoms and do not necessitate the aid of a member of the health care team.
The themes of health, wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention have been extensively discussed in both lay and professional literature and news media. As a result, there is a public need for health information, and health care providers and institutions are responding by providing it. Health-promotion initiatives that were once only available in hospitals have now expanded to include clinics, schools, churches, businesses, and industry. As employers attempt to reduce costs related with absenteeism, health insurance, hospitalization, disability, excessive turnover of staff, and early death, the workplace is increasingly becoming an important site for health promotion programs.
The first public health agenda in the United States was developed in 1979, with the goal of improving the health of all Americans. The “1990 Health Objectives” specified improvements in health status, risk reduction, public awareness, health services, and protective measures as additional targets (U.S. Public Health Service, 1990).
In the publication Healthy People 2000, national health targets were also created. Health promotion, health protection, and the usage of preventive services were recognized as the initiative’s top priorities. Healthy People 2010, the most recent edition, defines the country’s current national health promotion and illness prevention strategy. The report’s two main objectives are to (1) improve people’s health quality and years of a healthy life, and (2) remove health disparities among different sectors of the population (US Public Health Service, 2000).
Health and Wellness
Because of a changing notion of health and an understanding that wellness exists at many levels of functioning, the concept of health promotion has developed. It is no longer acceptable to define health as the absence of sickness. Health is now considered a dynamic, ever-changing state that allows a person to perform at their best at any given time. The ideal state of health is one in which people are able to reach their full potential notwithstanding any constraints they may have.
Wellness, as a reflection of health, entails a deliberate and conscientious effort to improve one’s health. Wellness is the result of adopting lifestyle practices with the goal of achieving one’s fullest potential for well-being. It needs forethought and conscious dedication. Everyone’s definition of wellness is different. Even if a person has a chronic illness or disability, he or she may be able to achieve a satisfactory level of health. The secret to wellbeing is to perform at your best within the constraints over which you have no control.
People’s health is influenced by what they do or don’t do, according to a large body of evidence. Many of the leading causes of sickness today are chronic diseases that have been linked to lifestyle choices (e.g., heart disease, lung and colon cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, cirrhosis, traumatic injury, HIV infection, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]). As a result, a person’s health status reflects their lifestyle to a considerable extent.
Health Promotion Principles
Self-responsibility, dietary knowledge, stress reduction and management, and physical fitness are all aspects that underpin the concept of health promotion as an active process.
The key to good health promotion is taking responsibility for one’s own actions. The concept of self-responsibility is based on the idea that people are in charge of their own life. It is up to each of us to make the decisions that decide how healthy our lifestyle is. People may take responsibility for avoiding high-risk behaviors such as smoking, drinking, drug misuse, overeating, driving while drunk, unsafe sexual practices, and other unhealthy habits as they become more aware of the enormous implications that lifestyle and behavior have on health. They may also be held accountable for implementing practices that have been shown to improve health, such as frequent exercise, wearing a seat belt, and eating a well-balanced diet.
Nutrition as a component of health promotion has received a lot of attention and press recently. Special diets, natural foods, and the dangers of particular compounds like sugar, salt, cholesterol, artificial colors, and food additives are all covered in a plethora of books and magazine articles. It has been suggested that good nutrition is the single most important element in determining health and lifespan.
Stress reduction and management are crucial parts of health promotion. Studies have revealed that stress has negative impacts on health and that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between stress and infectious diseases, traumatic injuries (such as car accidents), and some chronic illnesses. In today’s society, when production demands have become overwhelming, stress has become unavoidable. People are increasingly being encouraged to manage stress effectively and to reduce the stress that is unproductive. Relaxation training, exercise, and the adjustment of stressful situations are frequently incorporated in stress management health promotion programs. Additional stress management information, including health risk assessment and stress reduction techniques such as biofeedback and the relaxation response.
Another key aspect of health promotion is physical fitness. Clinicians and researchers (Anspaugh, Hamrick, & Rosata, 1994; Edelman & Mandle, 1998; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1996) who studied the relationship between health and physical fitness discovered that a regular exercise program can promote health by improving the function of the circulatory system and lungs, decreasing cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein concentrations, lowering body weight by increasing calorie expenditure, delaying degenerative diseases, and delaying death. On the other hand, if exercise is not started carefully and increased gradually in accordance with the individual’s response, it might be hazardous. A customized fitness regimen should be created for each individual, taking into account their age, physical condition, and any known cardiovascular or other risk factors. An adequate exercise routine can improve a person’s performance capacity, appearance, and overall physical and emotional health.
Health Promotion throughout Life Span
Health promotion is both a concept and a practice that lasts a lifetime. According to studies, the mother’s health practices during the prenatal period might have a beneficial or bad impact on the child’s health. As a result, health promotion begins at conception and continues throughout youth, adulthood, and old age.
Children and Adolescents
Historically, health screening has been an important part of children’s health care. The goal has been to detect health problems in children at an early age so that they can be treated. Today, health promotion encompasses considerable attempts to promote healthy health practices at a young age, in addition to simply screening children for disabilities. Children should be taught to develop healthy health attitudes because health habits and practices are formed early in life.
Young and Middle-aged Adults
Young and middle-aged people are an age group that not only exhibits an interest in health and health promotion but also eagerly responds to proposals that demonstrate how healthy lifestyle choices can be implemented. Adults are regularly compelled to alter their lifestyles in order to improve their health and well-being. Many adults who want to improve their health turn to health-promotion programs for assistance in making the necessary lifestyle changes. They respond enthusiastically to programs that address general wellness, smoking cessation, exercise, physical conditioning, weight management, conflict resolution, and stress management.
Elderly health promotion is just as vital as it is for other age groups. Despite the fact that 80 percent of adults over 65 have one or more chronic illnesses and nearly half of them are limited in their activities, health promotion has a substantial impact on the elderly as a group. According to clinical research, the elderly are very health-conscious, and the majority of them have a good attitude toward their health and are prepared to adapt to activities that will improve their health and well-being (Ebersole & Hess, 1997; Staab & Hodges, 1996). These persons can benefit from activities that help them preserve their independence and attain maximum health, despite the fact that their chronic illnesses and disabilities cannot be removed.
Implications for Nursing
Nurses play an important role in health promotion because of their competence in health and health care and their long-standing consumer trust. They’ve started health-promotion initiatives and collaborated with other healthcare professionals to design and deliver wellness services in a variety of venues.
Nurses have a responsibility to promote activities that enhance well-being, self-actualization, and personal fulfillment as health care providers. Every interaction with healthcare customers should be considered as a chance to promote healthy health attitudes and habits.